With cars getting bigger and badder every year, Volkswagen has taken the competition by surprise with its latest SUV, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.
This family-friendly vehicle can comfortably seat up to seven passengers and still offers the necessary interior space to stay sane on a long drive.
One of the first things you notice when shopping for a new VW SUV is the five different trim types available with the Atlas. While the base is about $31,500, the Atlas I test drove was the SEL Premium version, with a price tag of $49,415. So why the big price disparity? What contributes to the increased price of the SEL trim are its eight-way power passenger seat, easy open liftgate, factory-installed tow hitch, memory function driver’s seat, and, last but not least, the park pilot feature.
The regular S trim comes without these niceties but it is still fully equipped to handle any situation with its rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen, app-connect with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, stainless steel roof rails, and privacy glass. Each trim gets its own elaborate set of utilities which ensures that your drive is smooth and entertaining.
Seat comfort is standard within all the trims, with the SEL Premium getting a bit more thigh support and side bolstering. What is really impressive is the legroom for second and third row passengers. We heard that the person in the front passenger seat can recline the seat all of the way, and the seat won’t even touch the passenger on the second row. I actually tested this out and, to my surprise, it’s true.
And that’s not the only surprise this top-of-the-line SUV has to offer. As Americans, we have big dreams and places to go. With a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds, the Atlas has the carrying capacity that will allow you to take everything you deem necessary on any kind of trip, whether it is for a vacation or business. With its 276 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2,750 rpm, you can haul your entire house if you need. Well, certainly a fully loaded 6- by 12-foot U-Haul or a 20-foot powerboat.
This SUV isn’t your run-of-the-mill car — it can take you around the globe with ease and style.
In the mileage department, the Atlas gets 17/23 mpg (city/highway). Also noteworthy is that unlike many Volkswagen SUVs, the Atlas does not require premium gasoline.
In the safety department, this VeeDub clinched a “Top Safety Pick” award from the IIHS, a “good” rating in all five crashworthiness tests, and a “superior” rating in the front crash prevention category. Standard safety features include automatic post-collision braking and a rearview camera. Available advanced safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision monitoring with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and front- and rear-park assist.
Without the slightest hesitation, I can say this SUV is one of my favorite rides of the year. Its eight-speed automatic transmission,and staple Volkswagen handling abilities make it fun to drive day in and day out. Cruise with your family in the new Volkswagen Atlas 2018, and you won’t be disappointed.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.